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Artpopcomicexpo
02-19-2017, 07:07 PM
For many small publishers, mini comic and zine makers it's impossible to get listed in Previews. Either due to lack of advertising funds or not being able to meet the required monthly orders.

We spoke with several comic shop owners at comic cons who were in attendance looking for comics they can't find in Diamond. Shops willing to deal with the creators one on one to order non local comics.

But attending comic cons around the US to get the word out about your comic is really expensive. So we came up with a possible solution - The indie comic sneak peek. A catalog that will be delivered FREE to comic shops. Shop owners can see a large cover image of your comic, read the synopsis, product details and most importantly see your contact info for making orders. Listing your book would be affordable and the only requirement to be included is that your book is complete, ready to ship or at least print ready.

We have a breakdown of how it works and will look at http://www.artpopcomicexpo.com/indie-sneek-peak/

We already have some creators signing up but we would love to get other indies feedback on if they like the idea, or if there is something they think could be done to improve it.

excellent l
02-20-2017, 03:34 PM
Sounds like a great idea.But a hundred bucks for an add is a bit much for an indie creator.☺ You should post this in the indie groups on Facebook as well.

maverick
02-24-2017, 02:37 PM
Yikes, that is way too expensive for any indie creator or small press!!

For a fraction of the cost, you can get a listing or an ad in Alterna's Make Mine Indie. Granted, it's not printed and mailed directly to comic shops, but sheesh for $100 a listing you'd have to sell at least that many comics to make it pay off.

https://www.alternacomics.com/creators-publishers

Lee Nordling
02-26-2017, 12:54 PM
Maverick's response brings up a GREAT topic, one that wanders into an area most creators were never taught to address: the real and perceived values of promotion and advertising.

I'm beginning with a segue, not the kind you ride.

When I worked at DC as Group Editor of Creative Services, I was liaison for Editorial with Marketing, the latter run by Bruce Bristow (still a pal) and Bob Wayne.

They only had the budget to promote three titles a month, what they called the A, B, and C promotions, with the first having more stuff than the third, which was often only a poster.

And I was in the meetings where we agreed what did and didn't get promoted, and how the ones that were promoted were chosen.

The goal: to get back from the promotion more than is spent on it.

This is not about right or wrong; it's about what will give the best return on the money spent.

Ever wonder why it always seemed to be Batman getting the promotion dollars?

Well the answer is this: if you increase awareness of a Batman title, perhaps one that's tied to a film, then more people are going to BUY that book than would have without the promotion. THAT'S a return on dollars spent.

I remember the discussion where this was explained to me.

They said a Dean Motter book will sell 15,000 copies without promotion, because it is written by Dean Motter, and he has a following. But, they said, if we gave Dean's book an A-level promotion, it will still sell about 15,000 copies, so that book is not a good candidate for an A-level promotion, because we don't get our money back from it.

I can actually hear the cries of outrage at what I wrote coming from around the world, but wait--there's more!

Bruce Bristow is ALSO the guy who saw poor sales numbers for Gaiman's early "Sandman" issues, and thought the book should be doing better, so he poured money into promoting it, increasing awareness, and getting more people to sample it. And THAT'S when the book took off and made comics history with (later) collected-edition sales into traditional bookstores.

Now back to the topic at hand and what Maverick wrote.

If spending $100 on a listing, or $200 on an ad won't get you enough additional sales to get back those monies spent, he's right: it's a waste of money.

And not every book (few in fact) are Sandman.

But I don't believe in "build it and they will come"; they don't, unless they know it's there to come to.

And in this case we're talking about appealing to comic bookstore buyers taking chances with THEIR dollars that somebody will pick up and buy your book.

With my children's sequential art books published by Graphic Universe, I don't have to worry about any of this; they publish and promote my books very well to schools and libraries.

But I'm also involved in some speculative ventures, books I believe in quite a bit, books I think WILL sell with increased awareness to comic bookstore buyers, otherwise I wouldn't be making them.

After spending months working on a book with my sweat equity already invested, I would absolutely spend $100-200 to increase awareness...

...and if the book doesn't sell enough more (100-200 copies more, if Maverick's assertions are correct) to get back that investment, then I'd hope I'd be able to learn something about WHY my book didn't earn back those monies so I could make the necessary adjustments on the next venture.

The REAL question associated with whether it's worth it to invest in this catalogue is to know how WELL books from this catalog have been selling.

So I think some further investigation is in order, and it's time to put on our marketing hats to help make that determination.

I think that's wiser than dismissing the cost before determining, empirically, the potential return on the dollars spent.

Stewart Vernon
02-26-2017, 03:38 PM
To at least one of Lee Nordling's points... when I post something on my blog and it doesn't get a lot of responses, is it because it wasn't any good? Or just because not many people saw it? That is a tough thing to figure out. You can't even use blog traffic because you don't know how many of those are bots!

I always argue that Pepsi and Coke don't need to spend anything on advertising unless they are introducing a new flavor. Who doesn't know Pepsi and Coke exist? Who can't find these products on store shelves whenever and wherever they want? I think it would be tough to justify their marketing budget most days, because I suspect their sales would be about the same if they stopped running advertisements at all.

But smaller products, less trendy products... word of mouth only goes so far. If people don't know it exists, they don't know to try it and see if they like it. That's where you get bang for your buck in advertising... when you can reach people who otherwise don't know you exist and wouldn't know except for seeing that ad... and you either gain a following OR you find out maybe your work isn't what people want right now. Either way, you learn something by spending that money and getting more eyes on you.

ayalpinkus
02-27-2017, 11:53 AM
I always argue that Pepsi and Coke don't need to spend anything on advertising unless they are introducing a new flavor. Who doesn't know Pepsi and Coke exist? Who can't find these products on store shelves whenever and wherever they want? I think it would be tough to justify their marketing budget most days, because I suspect their sales would be about the same if they stopped running advertisements at all.


“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does” – Steuart Henderson Britt

Sales of Coca Cola and Pepsi could go down if they stopped advertising.

maverick
02-27-2017, 05:33 PM
Furthermore, your listing is lost in a sea of other listings, i.e., your competition is sitting right there next to you. Selling 100 copies out a a simple line listing in a catalog is unlikely. You might be able to make this work if it was coupled with additional outreach, e.g., direct mailings/contact to the shops that are receiving this catalog. Unfortunately that likely means additional dollars will need to be spent.

I'm not against advertising, in fact I think it's completely necessary especially when you are a small drop in a large pool of wonderful indie books and super talented creators. You need to get yourself noticed. But by gosh you also need to be smart about where you put your dollars. And ROI on stuff like this can be difficult to measure.

Stewart Vernon
03-01-2017, 04:56 AM
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does” – Steuart Henderson Britt

Sales of Coca Cola and Pepsi could go down if they stopped advertising.

Note that I didn't say advertising has no value... I said for a known product from a known company, it has diminishing value over time.

I just can't believe standard Coke and Pepsi product sales would take a measurable hit from lack of advertising in markets where they are easily available and already bought by most people.

Conversely... RC Cola is often overlooked on the shelves, people haven't heard of it even though it is a very old product... and I suspect they could benefit from some advertising to remind people that the product still exists and is available in stores.

Marvel doesn't need to advertise Spider-Man as much as they would need to advertise Captain Joe Blow... Nobody knows who Captain Joe Blow is, even if Marvel publishes it... so that would benefit more from advertising. My comic strip on my blog would benefit from advertising. I know a lot of people like what I'm doing, but I also know most people still don't know I exist.

Scribbly
03-01-2017, 06:16 AM
This is a great idea. But, when you try to get a penny out of the pocket of any indie comics author you...YOU ARE OUT OF YOR MIND! :har:

RoboTwin
03-13-2017, 01:29 PM
Scribbly is right about this case, especially since the fee is merely for a listing,* which would otherwise be free in the Diamond catalog (last time I checked). This project would make more sense if the thumbnail listings were free, with advertising tiers ranging from 1/8th to full page.

I think indie creators could also join forces as a co-op to list their stuff for free, and everyone could just print out listings at home and distribute it to their local comic shop. In the beginning, the entire catalog of listings would probably fit on a single-page flyer.

[*To be fair, the listing examples on the web site look like 1/2 page ads]

Lee Nordling
03-14-2017, 12:58 AM
When I read, "Scribbly is right," and then I read that it was just a listing...I wondered whether folks were thinking, "la la la la--I'm not listening" when I wrote that what is important is the ROI, the return on investment.

Does anybody have a CLUE whether a listing helps sales?

If not, then an opinion is just an uninformed guess--have at it.

If you do have a clue, or, even better, figures of increased sales or no increased sales, then that helps. Otherwise, it's just sitting around a table an giving uninformed advice, and that's worse than no advice, because it can potentially derail that something that helps.

In Hollywood, the best thing a studio executive can do to help themselves is say "no," because nobody ever got fired for saying "no"; it's safe.

What would be good is somebody looking into this and finding out if there's been measurable success.

Otherwise, poo-pooing the potential is creating a self-fulfilling reality of ignoring avenues that could actually help sell books.

Do I THINK it could help?

I don't know.

But my best advice is to research it, rather than to put up stop signs to finding out if it can work.

I recommend cautious optimism, rather than cynical experience based on lack of hope for potential.

RoboTwin
03-14-2017, 02:53 AM
Cautious optimism is good advice. If we didn't have a bit of optimism, no one would accomplish anything. On the other hand, a bit of caution helps us avoid getting eaten by predators. Not saying OP publication is predatorial, but sometimes new publications sell ads but never publish anything and disappear with the money, even those with good intentions.

In doing the research, we probably need to know how many comic shops there actually are, the circulation of the publication offering ad space, and a cautious estimate of the ROI. Any publication that sells ads traditionally tells you what their circulation is. That's an absolute must before doing business with someone, otherwise the optimism is blind and probably foolish.

I hope it's not cynical to suggest a co-op as an alternative or in addition to traditional advertising. Seems like creative people can come up with fresh marketing ideas and use modern technology to their advantage.

Another alternative is the Comic Shop News (http://www.csnsider.com/adv.htm), which is well established and offers a starting rate of $89. However, they refuse to sell ads that compete with the comic shop. In other words, you need to have some cost-effective distribution arrangement to get your books to the shop. The target market here is the comic reader rather than only the comic retailer, so your advertising dollar gets the most mileage.

I'm also optimistic about the concept of http://indiecomicsmagazine.com, which offers Diamond distribution and ad space, as well as a good number of pages in the magazine for your actual comics.

You're right, it's bad to poo-poo a new avenue, and I don't want to be that cynical guy, so maybe it needs revision because other possibilities seem to offer more for the money.

Scribbly
03-26-2017, 03:03 PM
When I read, "Scribbly is right," and then I read that it was just a listing...I wondered whether folks were thinking, "la la la la--I'm not listening" when I wrote that what is important is the ROI, the return on investment.

Does anybody have a CLUE whether a listing helps sales?

Hey! I thought I said "This is a great idea."
What's the problem with it then? Is bad implemented.
If, people with known trajectory and proved contacts in the Indy comics media as Kablam or Quebecor or whoever who is known, including Lee Nordling, are coming with the same idea asking for a tenth of what is asking here, probably it would work.
Some unknown guy coming from thin air asking for $100 to each indy author in order to create (in future tense) a "catalog that will be delivered FREE to comic shops"... I don't see it coming.
Want me to help you to help me? Show me the money!!

Lee Nordling
03-27-2017, 10:01 PM
Hey, Scribbly.

I wasn't actually referring to what you wrote, except as it was referred to by RoboTwin. Sorry I wasn't more clear about my objection.

The entire sentence I was referring to and object to was this: "Scribbly is right about this case, especially since the fee is merely for a listing,* which would otherwise be free in the Diamond catalog (last time I checked). This project would make more sense if the thumbnail listings were free, with advertising tiers ranging from 1/8th to full page."

So, to be more clear, I wasn't referring to what Scribbly wrote, I was referring to the sentence that caught my attention.

Hope this brings my comment back home.

Sorry if I confused anybody.